AUTHOR BIO DETAILS: G J Griffiths is a UK baby-boomer who worked for quite a while in the Photographic industry. Then he became a Science teacher for about twenty years. He likes reading (lots!) walking in the countryside and birdwatching – Oh! and being a Grandad! Having retired he thought he would like to write a novel. So why did he write the first one?
Who Do They Think They Are?
Watching those programs on TV about different people looking into their ancestral past, and seemingly becoming very upset about certain individuals in their pedigree, he wondered about how much their emotions had been stirred by forebears, such as cousins, grandparents and even great grandparents. After all they had never met them or never even knew about their existence previous to their research. The tears, regrets and often anger that became evident on the screen betrayed how delicate feelings may often lie very near the surface.
At the same time he had been reading Winston Churchill’s volumes about the Second World War and also reading about the Battle of the Bulge, of Band of Brothers fame. It occurred to G J Griffiths: What if someone was looking into their ancestry and discovered that their forefather was involved in plot to assassinate a famous general from WW2? What if that general was George S Patton who was so vital in relieving the US troops trapped in the Battle of the Bulge? He had read that Patton often could be a thorn in the side of his senior officers at that time.
And so he created three pivotal fictional characters around this idea of unpleasant discovery; of an assassination plot involving the father of Chris Squires. The father he never knew dashes his hopes to the ground. How would Chris feel? How would he react? Once the author started writing the story the characters took over and he had to continue the tale where they took it! It became his first novel, Fallen Hero.
When GJ started writing Fallen Hero he was already well into the collection of stories later to become his second book: So What! Stories or Whatever! But the general direction of the plot and many of the characters were not properly formed at that time. Then along came the idea for Fallen Hero and that took over for the next 18 months or so!
GJG hopes you enjoy reading his books as much as he did writing them. Let him know at: www.gjgriffithswriter.weebly.com Or tweet: @gjgfh_g
What inspires you to write?
Observations, events and incidents that one experiences just by being on this Earth often cause a train of thought(s) that lead me to wonder about what went on before and after those things. This is then very tempting to a writer, allowing them to ponder about the protagonists feelings and how another similar scenario might play out.
Originally, after I had retired from teaching I just wanted to write and write about many of the kids I’d taught and tell my readers about some of their hilarious tales. But after a while I realised that so many of the stories would be tinged with sadness or tragedy or poignant moments, and that it was not going to be just another “book of funny stories”. If I wanted to include some of the difficulties that the kids’ teachers also faced, many times a day sometimes, then I had to also write about why they wanted to come into education, and more importantly, why they were determined to stay in it!
So Robert Jeffrey was “born” and his story is gradually unfolded and woven between the collection of students’ stories. Robert’s determination to become what he feels is a “good teacher” became a main theme throughout the book. There was a danger then that the book would become a continuous whinge from yet another cynical, grumbling teacher. Enter Kyle Crabbe, the bully, and some of the tales begin to have a sinister theme to them. With that stage set it meant that I could lead the reader up a path that would allow a twist to it, to make the reader be surprised – be very surprised!
Some of the books that Robert Jeffrey had read and that had inspired him to want to teach coincided, strangely enough, with some of the list that G J Griffiths had also valued. It was a list that included: R Delderfield’s “To Serve Them All My Days”, Thomas Hughes’ “Tom Brown’s Schooldays”, D H Lawrence’s “The Rainbow”, E R Braithwaite’s “To Sir with Love”, “Neill! Neill! Orange Peel!”, plus, of course, a couple from The Master – Charles Dickens, such as “Hard Times” and “Nicholas Nickleby”.
Fortunately I still have many more So What! Stories to tell. Until I had almost finished my second book I hadn’t realised that there was going to be another book-full to come out of my head and onto the written page. It’s under way and hopefully will become a reality after a few more months.
Tell us about your writing process.
Ideas are thought about for a day or so, then maybe recorded in writing as brief sketches.
Characters and scenarios developed to form a very general plot/story line, with a likely beginning and outcome/end.
Then write, write, and write to produce sketches, something worth changing and or developing; all the time trying to find the voice of the main character(s) so that it makes a kind of sense to the reader. But what I have enjoyed doing and want to continue doing is to “ambush” the reader when they least expect it! I call it my “ambush twist” in fact and I feel it makes the reader feel compelled to find out what happens at the end! I was very pleased recently to see two reviewers enjoyed this effect.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I cannot say that I talk to my characters but I definitely listen to them, so that the story follows a likely, or possible, even probable direction. Until it meets my “ambush twist”!
What advice would you give other writers?
Keep on writing even when you are “losing the plot”, or want to give up. At least you will have something to change and develop and think about. You may even improve it to the extent that you feel it was worth persisting with – always remembering the trash bin is a last resort!
And read lots and lots of other genres other than the one you write in, so that you are not tempted to copy another’s style but hopefully discover the “voice” that you need to develop as your own.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Self published through Create Space. It gave me more control and room to develop and learn. Plus I hated the thought of my “creation” sitting on a slush pile just gathering dust, without even being given a chance to be read.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Ebooks will be the main format, totally dominating the market I’m sure – but I am also certain that paperbacks and hard cover books will always be popular with a loyal and large section.
What genres do you write?
contemporary fiction/humorous stories for adults
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print